Masks from San Mateo County are arriving but the state — which is leasing 177 beds for coronavirus patients — hasn’t shipped personal protective equipment to Seton Medical Center in Daly City, a nurse at the hospital’s intensive care unit said.
Phoebe Minkler said at a press conference Thursday outside the hospital that Gov. Gavin Newsom announced about 35 million masks were being distributed in the state.
“We have yet to receive any,” Minkler said.
Tony Armada, president of Seton Medical Center, said the county is providing supplies of N-95 masks. Seton expected to receive 15,695 such masks Thursday among the personal protective equipment the county is supplying the hospital staff, Armada said.
Asked if the state is overwhelmed by the demand for supplies because of the coronavirus, Armada said, “I think the nation is overwhelmed.”
“Everybody is preparing for the surge,” he said.
Health officials anticipate a surge of coronavirus cases over the next weeks.
San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa said of Seton receiving supplies that, “When there’s inaction, action needs to be taken.”
“It’s the grit of getting these things done,” Canepa said.
Nurse Minkler said the shortage of N-95 masks had meant that a single such mask was issued for 12-hour shifts. A few weeks ago three masks were issued per shift, she said.
Seton Medical Center, described as on the verge of closing last month, is now treating coronavirus patients after the state agreed to lease floors of the hospital for such care.
Minkler spoke Thursday about the hospital.
“We have been completely ignored for a long time,” she said.
John Avalos, a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who is now with the National Union of Healthcare Workers, said Seton was saved just in time.
It’s crucial that adequate personal protective equipment be provided the hospital staff, Avalos said.
“We’re here in solidarity with workers all over the world,” Avalos added at the press conference.
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